As the NWFL started the year looking for consolidation and stability within its senior ranks it caused some upheaval by introducing an Under 12’s competition to its clubs and by doing so led the way across Tasmania with clubs now being responsible for six teams from Under 12’s to Seniors. The pathway for young footballers on the coast is now very clear and with the agreements that we have in place with the two TSL sides allows players to identify with their club from the start of their career to the end.
The NWFL Senior Competition was more even overall than in previous seasons.
Newcomers Burnie and Devonport struggled a little in their second season and wins were hard to come by for both sides. The remaining teams were all in contention for a finals berth right up until the final roster game with East Devonport squeezing out Circular Head to finish fifth and participate in the finals series. Latrobe, Ulverstone, Penguin and Wynyard finished in that order on the ladder with Latrobe finishing on top by percentage only from Ulverstone.
Then what followed was an outstanding finals series with games close and exciting from start to finish with Penguin winning one and losing two games by less than a goal, including the grand final where Latrobe were victorious by three points. Congratulations to Latrobe who pulled off a double by winning the Reserves and to Burnie who triumphed in a very entertaining Under 18 game.
Ulverstone and Circular Head combined with Beyond Blue to bring ex AFL players to our competition during the season with Brock McLean and Nick Gill playing with the respective teams and providing great entertainment for the public both on and off the field.
There was stability in the coaching ranks with existing coaches Aaron Tuxworth (Smithton), Andrew Bacon (Burnie), Justin Rodman (Ulverstone), Mark Lowe (Devonport) Dale Perry (East Devonport) and Wade Anthony (Latrobe) returning for another season with 2012 premiership coach Shannon Bakes the only new addition returning to Wynyard.
Representative football was again missing from our roster this season and is becoming an issue that we must address. The other community competitions in Tasmania do not look at representative football in the same light as we do and that is evident in the results over time and the consistent complaints from them that they cannot get their best players to participate. There must be a solution to this problem and we will be looking at how we can give our best players the opportunity to represent their league on a year by year basis.
Junior football was fully integrated into the NWFL last season with the NWFL appointed subcommittee handling the day to day running of the Competition and reporting to the board through executive members Barry Gaby and Shane Lee, both of whom are members of the Junior Subcommittee. Thank you to all members of the Junior Sub-committee for your work throughout the year.
The introduction of the Under 12 Competition this season was successful with seven of the eight clubs being able to field teams.
The finals series was also very competitive and exciting. An excellent crowd attended the grand finals at Girldestone Park which saw Burnie defeat Devonport to take out the inaugural under 12’s premiership and Devonport defeating Ulverstone in both the Under 14’s and Under 16’s.
The Mead Con Darrel Baldock Medal and Ambassador Quest function was again held at the Burnie Arts and Function Centre and proved to be a great success with around 240 people in attendance.
Invites were sent to the top-vote getters in the Mead Con Baldock Medal allowing them to be interviewed during the count.
The Mead Con Baldock Medal count provided an exciting call with winner Matt Elliott of the Circular Head Giants in a tight race with runner up Luke Dyson from Ulverstone. Matt ran out the winner by two votes with Dyson failing to poll in the final round.
The exciting part for the NWFL is the emergence of younger players within our competition as evidenced by Matt and Luke but also by the many others who polled very well throughout the season.
The Mead Con Ambassador quest was again outstanding with the disappointment of only six clubs being able to have contestants there on the day being overshadowed by those in attendance and their ability to articulate clearly what they had achieved during the season and their commitment to their clubs.
Our thanks go to Giovana, Natalie, Vonette and Vicki for their work as judges. The selection of the Winner and Runner’s Up proved extremely difficult with close scoring across the panel.
Congratulations to all award winners, who have been listed elsewhere in this report (website).
Football is a team sport and the NWFL Board and Executive work exceptionally well as a team and my thanks go to them all for their assistance and co-operation throughout the year. We farewelled long serving Alan Broomhall due to ill health and welcomed Shane Lee to our ranks.
The Executive’s knowledge of the game and the competition is outstanding and I am proud to be able to work with them for the betterment of football.
The other very important member of our team is Executive Officer Vicki Slater who has continued to provide the Board, Executive and Clubs with tremendous support and successfully guide the Board and Executive through the season.
There are many others that assist the league during the season and their assistance is greatly appreciated. Special thanks go to our Co-Patrons Paddy Martin and Ian Wotherspoon who continue their great support of the league in different but important ways and also to Nigel Tapp our program editor.
The NWFL would like to express its appreciation to all our generous sponsors. Unfortunately Crowe Horwath will not continue as our naming rights sponsor for next season but have contributed greatly to the NWFL over a seven year period and we thank them for their great support. We are hopeful that all other sponsors (as listed on the inside cover) will continue in 2017 and we will be having discussion with them all to ensure that we are satisfying our end of the agreement. I have mentioned on numerous occasion throughout the year that our competition would not be possible without these sponsors. As a football family we should support those that support us, so if you have the opportunity do just that and let them know how important their support is to us.
The NWUA has again been totally responsible for providing umpires for our competition and has provided very professional and reliable teams of umpires throughout the year. Matthew Clarke undertook the coaching role this season and performed excellently and I am sure all umpires are appreciative of the time he has committed and the knowledge that he has passed on. The NWFL, NWUA and AFL Tas. must work together to increase the number of umpires and provide an environment that allows everyone who wants to umpire an opportunity to do so. This is the responsibility of all parties and should not be left to any one or two to achieve.
The media support of the NWFL has been appreciated with all our major events and functions being, extremely well reported. The weekly coverage of our competition is enjoyed by members of the public.
As usual the NWFL Tribunal handled all cases very professionally and we thank them for their continued support and commitment to the NWFL.
The NWFL Appeals Committee was required only the once to hear an appeal from one of our affiliate competitions. We also thank them for their continued support and commitment to the League.
The Tasmanian Football Council and AFL Tasmania have gone through great turmoil over the last few months. AFL Tas CEO Scott Wade the GM of the TFC and the GM of the TSL all resigned within weeks of each other.
In recent times the NWFL had a great working relationship with Scott Wade and his team and would like to thank him for all he has done for North West and Tasmanian Football.
New CEO Rob Auld has undertaken to work collaboratively and to date this has been the case with a two day forum run in early September for all participants of Tasmanian football an example of this.
The TFC have a policy that the TSL should be a one team model and run similar to what is happening in our region, this was conveyed at that forum and it was agreed that the structure of the TSL going forward needed more discussion.
The TFC provided the opportunity for Under 23 players to play against the Western Australian Amateur Football League in Launceston on the 5th of June.
In preparation for the game the TFC advertised for a coach and received several excellent applications from which Wynyard premiership coach Errol Bourn was appointed.
The NWFL only contributed five players to the team which was soundly beaten by the Western Australians. Congratulations go to Matt Elliott (Circular Head) Jade Smith and Michael Flint (Latrobe) Liam Davies (Ulverstone) Jacob Hamill (Wynyard) for their selection and performance.
As we move forward with our new structure I ask for everyone’s assistance in working together to maintain the NWFL as the premier regional competition in Tasmania (both on and off the field).